Coloradoans overwhelmingly support the Clinton administration proposals to protect roadless areas within National Forests. Three quarters of the state?s residents support the President on this issue and the support level rises even higher based upon the amount of land that would be protected within the state of Colorado.
Some specific findings from the Colorado survey concerning National Forests include the following:
Question 5: Half of the National Forest lands in the U.S. have already been logged, mined, have roads and remain open to commercial development. 18% is permanently protected. The remaining 31% are wild but unprotected areas roadless areas. The Clinton administration has proposed to protect nearly all of these remaining wild but unprotected areas. This means that it could be used for most types of recreation, including hunting, camping and fishing, but that logging, new roads, mining, oil drilling, and off-road vehicles would be prohibited. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?
- 75% support the Clinton administration proposal (55% strongly support it). Given that opposition rises only to 20%, it has in excess of three-to-one support in the state.
Question 6: What if you learned that included in this proposal would be protections for up to 36% of national forest lands in Colorado, or about 5 million acres, which would still stay open for hunting, camping and fishing. Then would you favor or oppose this proposal?
- The 'homestate' figures increased the already strong support for the proposal. The Colorado statistics shifted the 'favor' figures upward to 78% (57% strongly supporting) and dropped the opposition to 16% (half strongly opposed).
Discussion/Analysis of Questions 5 & 6:
1. As to the Clinton proposal to protect remaining roadless forests, age was once again an important factor. The results grew in support as the age group got younger - the highest support levels were among 18-34 year olds with 85% supporting the national model and 89% supporting the specific Colorado protections. Both as to the national perspective and the specific Colorado impact, the 65 and older age group was the least strong support group (with 69% supporting the national model and 65 % supporting the specific Colorado question).
2. Self identified Republicans are the only group whose support falls at or below 2/3 on the Clinton proposal. However, a strong showing of 60% of self-identified Republicans support the national designation amount, growing to 67% for the Colorado specifics. All other party self-identifications resulted in figures in the 80% range or higher (78% support among Independents for the national Clinton proposal was the lowest figure among Independents and Democrats).
3. As with other issues, voters in the 3rd Congressional District are the least supportive of the Clinton proposal - either on the national level (64% supporting) or the state level (69% supporting). It should be noted that support never drops below 60% in any geographic area, the proposal fares well generally statewide.
Question 3: National Forest lands in the United States total 192 million acres. Currently 18% of these lands are permanently protected from logging and other development. Given this, do you think the U.S. has too much, not enough, or about the right amount of permanently protected land in our national forests?
Question 4: Currently 23% of the land in Colorado?s National Forests are permanently protected from logging and other development. Given this, do you think Colorado has too much, not enough, or about the right amount of permanently protected land in our national forests?
- Coloradans feel, by nearly a two-to-one margin, that the 18% national figure is too low. 62% feel that 18% is 'not enough' versus 27% 'about right' and 5% 'too much.' When considering the 23% figure for protected land in Colorado, approximately 6% of Coloradans shifted from the 'not enough' to 'about right' characterizations (56% ?about right? and 33% ?not enough).
Discussion/Analysis of Question 3 & 4
1.On the issue of whether 18% nationally of current forest land protected as wilderness is too low an amount, age was a large determinant. 40% of those 65 and older felt that 18% was not enough, with the figures climbing through each successively lower age group to a high of 74% of those 18-34 feeling that the 18% figure is too low.
2.Similarly, the younger a person?s age, the more likely they are to believe that having only 23% of Colorado?s forest lands protected as wilderness is not enough. 38% of those 65 and above feel that 23% is ?not enough? growing larger through each successively younger age group to a high of 68% for those 18-34.
3.Geographically, the only area in which people feel that the 23% wilderness figure for Colorado is ?too much? or ?about right? exceeds those believing it is ?not enough? is the 3rd Congressional District (49% - too much/just right vs. 47% ?not enough?).
4.Self-identified Republicans were somewhat less likely to view the 23% figure as too low. 51% of this group felt that the 23% wilderness figure was ?about right? or ?too much? and 44% felt it was ?not enough.?
Question 1: To the best of your knowledge, are industrial activities like logging and mining allowed in National Forests?
- 53% overall are aware that these activities are 'definitely' or 'probably' allowed. 27% feel that the activities are 'definitely' or 'probably' not allowed. An additional 10% don't know whether they are or not. Consequently, over a third of Coloradans have an incorrect assumption or lack of knowledge about the protected nature of forest lands.
Question 2: In fact, these activities ARE allowed in National Forest Lands. Given this, do you support or oppose logging, mining, and other industrial activities on National Forest Lands?
- Opposition to industrial activities on forest lands rises to 55% overall (37% strongly, 18% somewhat), with 39% supporting industrial uses (14% strongly, 25% somewhat) and 5% expressing no opinion. Given the small level of fervent support for industrial exploitation of forests, there is significant room for growth in the opposition to these activities.
Discussion/Analysis of Questions 1 & 2
1. Women are the group most unaware that logging and other activities are currently allowed on National Forest land - 64% of those who think such activities are 'probably not allowed' and 60% of those who think industrial activities are 'definitely not allowed' are women.
2. However, Women make up one of the strongest voices against these types of activities. Women are more than one and a half times as likely as men to oppose such activities - of those who 'strongly oppose,' 62% are women compared to 38% for men; of those who ?somewhat oppose,' 59% are women compared to 41% for men. 63% of all women strongly or somewhat oppose logging and other industrial activities.
3. The strongest opponents of industrial activities in National Forests are self-identified Democrats who oppose the activities 67% to 26% in favor. Independents/Unaffiliated voters provide the next strongest opposition demographic, with 56% opposed to 39% in favor. Barely over half of the self-identified Republicans (51%) favor industrial exploitation of Nation Forests.
4. The only congressional District in which a majority of respondents favor industrial activity on forest land is the Third CD with 52% in favor and 44% opposed.